If you have a pre-existing injury, disability, or handicap, Missouri’s Second Injury Fund Compensation could prove very important to you in the future. It’s important not only that you are aware of the fund, but also that you understand how it functions in order to ensure that you are never robbed of potential benefits.
What is the Second Injury Fund?
After World War II, many companies were hesitant to hire veterans who had sustained injuries or handicaps in battle. The employers were concerned about the costs of employee healthcare and worker’s compensation due to their pre-existing health complications. Missouri’s government attempted to resolve this problem and get veterans back in the workplace by creating the Second Injury Fund to serve as an assurance that the state would cover the employer’s additional costs if a combination of disabilities rendered an employee fully disabled.
Today, the Second Injury Fund is funded by a surcharge paid by employers and it helps and protects employees when a work-related injury combines with a pre-existing disability to create an “increased combined disability.” In other words, if a recent workplace injury exacerbates an existing disability to create an even worse health condition, the Second Injury Fund can be utilized for compensation says Robert Smith, St. Louis workers compensation attorney. The date of the most recent compensable injury, either before or after January 1, 2014, determines the compensation available. If this might apply to you, it is critical that you receive legal counsel to determine how you should properly pursue the compensation that you deserve from the Second Injury Fund.
Before or After January 1, 2014
If your most recent compensable injury was sustained before January 1, 2014, the Second Injury Fund makes five potential benefits available. These include permanent partial disability, permanent total disability, death benefits, rehabilitation benefits, indemnity for lost wages from a second job, and medical expenses for injured employees of uninsured employers. Senate Bill 1 altered these compensations for injuries sustained after January 1, 2014. Rehabilitation benefits are still available, but now the only other compensation available is permanent total disability benefits.
Though the compensation available for more recent injuries isn’t as generous, it’s still a very important option to have for those with pre-existing conditions. When in doubt, talk to a lawyer.